The advent and integration of high-throughput '-omics' technologies (e.g. genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, glycomics and lipidomics) are revolutionizing the way biology is done, allowing the systems biology of organisms to be explored. These technologies are now providing unique opportunities for global, molecular investigations of parasites. For example, studies of a transcriptome (all transcripts in an organism, tissue or cell) have become instrumental in providing insights into aspects of gene expression, regulation and function in a parasite, which is a major step to understanding its biology. The purpose of this article was to review recent applications of next-generation sequencing technologies and bioinformatic tools to large-scale investigations of the transcriptomes of parasitic nematodes of socio-economic significance (particularly key species of the order Strongylida) and to indicate the prospects and implications of these explorations for developing novel methods of parasite intervention.